By Jonathon Van Maren
In one fell swoop, the state parliament of the Australian province of Queensland has both legalized abortion up until the point of viability as well as destroyed conscience rights for dissenting medical professionals. From The Guardian:
Abortion will become legal in Queensland, after the state’s parliament voted to support new legislation and erase a 119-year-old “morality” section of the state’s criminal code. Loud cheers in the legislative assembly chamber at 7.42pm on Wednesday brought to an end a 50-year struggle by women’s groups in a state once notorious for its conservatism.
Queensland has debated abortion several times since the 1970s, when women’s groups first marched for abortion rights and a clinic opened up in Brisbane. In 1985, the National-Liberal government led by Joh Bjelke-Petersen ordered raids on abortion clinics and unsuccessfully attempted to prosecute surgeons…
Both Labor and the Liberal National party granted their members a conscience vote, and most expected a close result. In the end, the laws passed 50-41. Three LNP MPs – the former opposition leader Tim Nicholls, Steve Minnikin and Jann Stuckey – broke ranks with their colleagues to support the laws.
In doing so they risk the wrath of their party, whose formal policy is opposed to legal abortion. The Courier-Mail reported on Wednesday that the Pine Rivers branch of the LNP called for the disendorsement of any MP who backed the reforms. The party’s president, Gary Spence, had also reportedly told MPs they could lose preselection if they voted in favour.
Abortion will become legal until 22 weeks gestation, and thereafter with the approval of two doctors. Safe access zones will restrict protesters and people who harass women from coming with 150m of abortion clinics. Doctors will be allowed to refuse to treat a woman on moral grounds, but also legally required to refer her to another medical practitioner.
What is not mentioned here, of course, is that referring someone for abortion is also a violation of conscience for those physicians who still recognize feticide as the destruction of a developing human being. As I mentioned earlier this week, it is these conscience rights that are currently under fire right across the Western world and South America, with abortion activists battling to remove any barrier to unfettered feticide.
The Australian pro-life movement continues to face severe challenges right across the country—challenges that veteran pro-life activist Kathy Clubb described in an interview with me earlier this year. Despite this tragic setback, there are still those dedicated to life who will seek to save lives in whatever way they can—day in, and day out.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.